After putting on dominant performances throughout Lehigh’s football season, including notching nine tackles and an interception against Holy Cross, defensive back TyGee Leach was named to the First-Team All-Patriot League team earlier this month.
Leach, a sophomore, was second on the team in tackles, finishing the shortened year with 18. As the team’s best performing defensive back, he racked up three tackles for loss, an interception, a pass breakup, and a forced fumble during the Mountain Hawks three-game season. Leach was named to the first-team on April 13.
“It was one of my personal goals I created for myself after the end of my freshman season so it was nice seeing progress in the right direction,” Leach said.
Though Lehigh football struggled offensively in 2021, finishing the season 0-3, Leach was a bright spot, showing promise for the future of the team.
Being named First-Team All-Patriot League is a success for Leach but also a positive sign for the future for the rest of the team.
Freshman wide receiver Connor Kennedy spoke about the mindset Leach has, which rubs off onto his teammates.
“TyGee (Leach) is a competitor that you want to be on the same team as,” Kennedy said. “Whether it is in the weight room or on the practice field, TyGee (Leach) finds ways to bring out the best in not only himself but the rest of the team. He is a true leader.”
Defensive coordinator Mike Kashurba spoke about Leach’s versatility on defense due to his comprehensive knowledge of the scheme.
Kashurba said Leach took a large step forward this season after his freshman campaign.
“His training, preparation, and mindset are elite,” Kashurba said. “He grew in his knowledge of our defense, which allowed us to play him all over the place. It is very rare to be able to do that with a sophomore. Most guys are still trying to figure out the smaller picture, but TyGee (Leach) was not only able to do it, but he also excelled.”
In terms of Leach’s leadership role on the team, Kashurba said for a young player, Leach excels leading the defensive back group in film study, meetings, and also on the field.
With COVID-19 still affecting athletes, this football season was not guaranteed. After months of practicing, Leach said he was enthusiastic about getting back onto the field and into a true competitive setting.
“It was a great feeling to get out there against someone other than our team finally,” Leach said. “It taught our team to cherish the game whenever we get the chance to play because it can be taken away from us at any time outside of our control.”
The team is hopeful that their fall season will have a greater sense of normalcy and Leach is confident that his work during the upcoming off-season will put him in a better position to help the team grow and find success.
“For next season, I’m looking to help improve myself and other members on our defense to eliminate the small mental errors we have in games,” Leach said. “I’m looking to improve my fundamentals this offseason and make sure I’m in the best shape I can be in for the fall.”